An anaerobic dynamic membrane digester (ADMD) was developed to digest waste sludge, and pyrosequencing was used to analyze the variations of the bacterial and archaeal communities during the start-up. Results showed that bacterial community richness decreased and then increased over time, while bacterial diversity remained almost the same during the start-up. Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes were the major phyla. At the class level, Betaproteobacteria was the most abundant at the end of start-up, followed by Sphingobacteria. In the archaeal community, richness and diversity peaked at the end of the start-up stage. Principle component and cluster analyses demonstrated that archaeal consortia experienced a distinct shift and became stable after day 38. Methanomicrobiales and Methanosarcinales were the two predominant orders. Further investigations indicated that Methanolinea and Methanosaeta were responsible for methane production in the ADMD system. Hydrogenotrophic pathways might prevail over acetoclastic means for methanogenesis during the start-up, supported by specific methanogenic activity tests.